Fine Print

Customer Experience


Fine print or disclaimers are a fact of advertising. Of course they are there to protect the seller (and challenge the buyer).

An example of a poor customer experience:

All the customer wants to do is buy the product. Why put up obstacles to make that difficult?

My one experience with a disclaimer was a significant learning lesson. Satisfy the customer….in most instances the customer is not trying to take advantage of the seller.

What is better?: a satisfied customer that returns or one that is treated poorly and never returns.


The Season


This Thanksgiving ad supplements were so numerous that the N&O was delivered in two bundles.

Retailers are expecting customers will flock to their businesses and buy everything in their ads. Of, course, there are less than four weeks in this buying season.

It is almost an unworkable business model to expect these few weeks to make a business profitable or unprofitable.

While home furnishings were not dependent on seasonal business….we did promote a few items that were moderately priced and desirable. Yet, nothing like these 2015 promotions.

At some point, this marketing strategy is overwhelming to the customer and retailer.





I received a gift of Aunt Ruby’s chocolate peanut clusters.

However a major problem….I can’t open the can! Whomever designed this packaging made sure it could not be easily opened. As can be seen from the photo I tried with a paint can opener….but could not budge the top….and significantly denting the top.

The top seems to be a paint can type pressed on the can body….yet with a very low profile so it’s almost impossible to pry the lid off.

Another peanut retailer uses a similar type of package with an easily pulled off foil top and a reuseable plastic lid.

Aunt Ruby’s needs to review its packaging. Why stymie the customer whan they just want to enjoy the product?

NOTE: Finally….a solution. just to the outside of the dents on the lid is a very small lip….where the tip of a opener can be inserted and the entire lid popped off. There is an inner aluminium seal that must be cut to access the product. These chocolate peanut clusters better be good!

Customer Entanglement


Customer entanglement

Tom Peters is a master at reengineering words to apply to businesses/organizations.

Customer entanglement could also mean customer engagement

The goal of any business is repeat customers….it is the lifetime value of each customer. Not just the immediate sale and on to another.

*”THE CUSTOMER PAYS THE BILLS!” (It may be a “yawner”—but it ALWAYS bears repeating.)


Pigeon Hill Brewery

Pidgeon Hill building

Pigeon Hill is part of Muskegon’s heritage. Pidgeon Hill being a huge sand dume between Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan that was mined for its foundry sand.

Pidgeon Hill Brew

From mlive:

Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. takes a part of Muskegon history and incorporates it into their business….excellent marketing. Now they are ready to expand by developing another building in the historical section of downtown.

Pigeon Hill Brewing and its owners are to be commended for investing in Muskegon and helping to develop the business infrastructure that makes a community attractive and economically viable.

The reviews of their products are very favorable. All in all a positive for Muskegon.




Over the years, I have tried to acquire a list of reputable service providers…..HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Appliance Repair. Some I have used for a few years and then had to change, due to poor performance, and/or reviews.

The front outdoor water faucet has a slight leak. Normally this would be an easy DIY project. however, the faucet is the orignal (1979) and also is not updated with a pressure relief valve. Though it may just need a new washer….there would certainly be some corrosion of parts. So a call to a plumber….replace with a complete new assembly. This should not be a large project (perhaps $150?).

The quandary:

  • Preferred provider has a few poor reviews, one of major concern.
  • Next on list, not available for two weeks….out of town. Not available?: especially after sending a direct mail marketing promotion the previous day.
  • Third choice: unable to give estimates over phone (somewhat understandable, though replacing a faucet is not that complicated). However, will schedule a technician  “and advise you it will be a $29 dispatch fee.”

No $29 dispatch fee! Will check on Angie’s List to evaluate next on preferred providers list. Unfortunately, can’t call on Harry (plumber in MI) to just come over and fix it.

Last Shipment

James K Barker


The Consumers Power coal generating plant in Muskegon is to be shut down in 2016.

The B.C. Cobb plant has been a fixture on Muskegon Lake since the 50’s….a symbol of industry and electric power for decades.

On Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, The last coal shipment (59,000 tons) was made to the Cobb plant by the James K Barker….a 1000 foot Great Lakes freighter.

Two noteworthy points of this occasion:

  • The change in generating electricity from coal to natural gas.
  • The 1000 foot ships like the James K Barker are unique to the Great Lakes.

Plus a rare pleasant day for early November in Western Michigan!